Mega Dodo 2022
Out of Berkshire suburbia with stories to tell, psychedelic polymath lifts a misty veil off coastal mysteries.
It’s been about a decade since the advent of Mordecai Smyth on Albion’s music scene, and the passing years did little to dispel the mystery of his dual existence as a person and an ensemble, and such a stance is a copacetic part of this artist’s creative approach. Never in-your-face, Smyth’s songs strum the strings of one’s soul in an inconspicuous, if mesmeric, manner, yet never stay away from disturbing the listener, especially when there’s a psyche in need of getting gently stunned, so a few of the pieces that form “Things Are Getting Stranger On The Shore” have a well-concealed shock value to contrast the album’s deceptive serenity. Still, the beauty on offer can distract anybody from self-destructive inner perspective, as Mordecai’s melodies possess the power to makes things feel better.
By sculpting a wondrously woozy wobble, which his world has always been possessed with, from the onset, Smyth expresses the quintessence of understated, pale gorgeousness permeating his pieces: quite intense in the sax-smeared synthesizers-and-guitars web of opener “In Your Dark Space” yet caressing the ear in the free-flowing nostalgia behind “Fear Of Flying” and gradually gaining pace in the cosmic delicacy of “Mercy” that will open the floodgates for a slew of folk-tinctured tunes. Delivered in Mordecai’s seemingly unassuming voice, with the prominent vocal and instrumental help from friends, including labelmates Icarus Peel and Crystal Jacqueline, these numbers run the gamut between spectral balladry of “The Love That We Found” and the sophisticated storytelling of “That Late Autumn Sun”: a multipartite epic whose magnificent shifting of the moods and switching from reverie to belligerence to dance encompasses the platter’s very spirit.
This spirit will take on a different meaning in “High Once More” which, providing a space-rock-shaped, riff-driven, rambunctious uplift to the overall drift, brings “Things…” to a close, while the short, cello-enhanced “The Upholsterers Wife” reveals purely English sort of blues in Smyth’s hazy tone and his handling of electrified six strings. Still, the Deborah Pike-sung little saga of “Out Of Thin Air” – where Jon Camp’s fluid bass lines swell, no less impressively than they do on the aforementioned “Sun” to kick it into high gear, and meander through diaphanous motifs laid down by the main man’s Mellotron and piano – presents a portal to the expansive possibilities of wishful thinking, the kind of mental state that being on a shore may result in.
And if the world is getting stranger there, it’s only for the best – for there’s the refuge from our woes lies.